Now that the confetti has settled, it seems the honeymoon phase for Georgia’s 2021 season has come to an end. The announcements by several key players seemed to cement that this week.
Georgia clearly has its leaders for next season, as outside linebacker Nolan Smith and quarterback Stetson Bennett would return in 2022. Smith will lead a new-look offense, while Bennett will aim to build off a 2021 season that saw him throw 29 touchdown passes to seven interceptions while leading Georgia to a National Championship.
Related: What return of Nolan Smith means for 2022 Georgia football team: ‘I don’t just want to be another player’
But Georgia won’t have all the same faces back. In part because Nakobe Dean, Travon Walker and others are off to the NFL draft following their stellar college careers. The transfer portal has also had a tremendous impact on the Georgia roster with eight Bulldogs electing to enter.
The two biggest names did so in tandem on Wednesday when JT Daniels and Jermaine Burton both put their names in. The Daniels news is not all that surprising, especially given Bennett’s return. The Burton news though caught some off guard.
Burton led Georgia wide receivers in receiving yards last season as he caught 26 passes for 497 yards and five touchdowns. He likely would’ve been an even bigger piece of the offense in 2022 after injuries limited Burton during stretches of the 2021 season.
Instead, Georgia will have to look elsewhere for explosive plays on offense. The Bulldogs do bring back some proven options in tight end Brock Bowers and wide receivers Ladd McConkey and AD Mitchell. Georgia will also look to get more out of Dominick Blaylock, Arian Smith and Arik Gilbert next season, as well as a possible wide receiver out of the transfer portal.
The DawgNation team of Connor Riley, Brandon Adams, Jeff Sentell and Mike Griffith discuss the fallout from these moves as well as what comes next for Georgia in the offseason.
WATCH: Georgia football roster decisions turn the page to 2022 season
Among the other topics discussed on this week’s Cover 4:
- Why would Burton leave?
- Where does this leave Georgia’s 2022 passing offense?
- What impact will Bennett’s return have on the 2022 offense?
- What does the quarterback news mean for Carson Beck, Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton?
- Who will Georgia hire as a wide receivers coach?
- When might Georgia itself dip into the transfer portal?
Cover 4 Live airs on Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. ET on the DawgNation home page and social channels.
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